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Fatal Jump

Tracking the Origins of Pandemics

Leslie Reperant

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Exploring the fateful chains of events that gave rise to humanity's infectious diseases and pandemics.

Why do global pandemics materialize? To address this question, we must delve into the world of pathogens that transcend their original host species and jump into new ones. Most pathogens fail to initiate infection or spread in the population when they jump. Only a few sustain onward chains of transmission, and even fewer sustain these indefinitely. Yet the rare pathogens that do make the leap have caused many of humanity's most dangerous infectious diseases.

In Fatal Jump: Tracking the Origins…

Exploring the fateful chains of events that gave rise to humanity's infectious diseases and pandemics.

Why do global pandemics materialize? To address this question, we must delve into the world of pathogens that transcend their original host species and jump into new ones. Most pathogens fail to initiate infection or spread in the population when they jump. Only a few sustain onward chains of transmission, and even fewer sustain these indefinitely. Yet the rare pathogens that do make the leap have caused many of humanity's most dangerous infectious diseases.

In Fatal Jump: Tracking the Origins of Pandemics, veterinary disease ecologist Dr. Leslie Reperant investigates mysteries such as how African-originated monkeypox left its home continent, why COVID-19 could threaten measles control, and how pigs' fondness for mangoes enabled the deadly Nipah virus to spread. She shares behind-the-scenes insights into hugely destructive pathogens carried by rats, bats, ticks, and mosquitoes, as well as lesser-known vectors such as prairie dogs and camels. Drawing from the latest research, she discusses whether we can predict these deadly jumps before they happen and what factors—including environmental change, population dynamics, and molecular evolution—enable a zoonotic disease to reach full pandemic status. Rich with recent scientific discoveries and emerging theories, this book spans a diverse range of disciplines, weaving their insights into a holistic view of infectious disease.

With new pathogens emerging at an alarming pace, Fatal Jump reorients our perspective on pandemics from a human-centered standpoint to the bigger picture. We will understand what actions are necessary to control emergence only by recognizing the increasingly global nature of human society and the connections between the planet's environmental health and our own health.

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Leslie Reperant

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Reviews

An essential one-stop shop for all you need to know about the evolution and emergence of infectious diseases. Reperant gives us a comprehensive, compelling, and beautifully written account of the origin of epidemics, seamlessly combining data from the evolutionary, ecological, and genomic fields. A truly remarkable achievement.

Leslie Reperant traces the source of infections that sicken and kill humans by meticulously describing the origins of infection-causing organisms and their manipulative and unpredictable behavior in hosts ranging from ants and grasshoppers to wild and domestic animals. A masterpiece of research and writing and a must-read for anyone who has ever wondered about the origins of infectious diseases.

An intriguing account of the complex interaction between pathogens and us, through deep history to now and COVID-19. The narrative probes issues with evolution, discusses our defense mechanisms, and looks at how viruses in particular jump from other warm-blooded vertebrates into us. This is an informative and interesting read.

Perhaps the most encyclopedic book yet about why diseases have always plagued humanity and why so many new ones are emerging. The tale ranges from how infection among the earliest living things shaped life on Earth—including us—to how the evolutionary war between germs and their victims molded our past and threatens our future. Above all, it shows why COVID was no surprise and why, unless we make some big changes, more pandemics like it—or worse—are coming.

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Book Details

Release Date
Publication Date
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Trim Size
6
x
9
Pages
520
ISBN
9781421446363
Illustration Description
23 b&w illus.
Table of Contents

Preface
Part I: On the Origin of Plagues
1. Parasites, Pathogens & the Tree of Life
2. The Red Queen & the Court Jester
3. Heirlooms & Souvenirs
4. New Alliances & Painful Scars
Part II: The Ghosts of

Preface
Part I: On the Origin of Plagues
1. Parasites, Pathogens & the Tree of Life
2. The Red Queen & the Court Jester
3. Heirlooms & Souvenirs
4. New Alliances & Painful Scars
Part II: The Ghosts of Plagues Past
5. Medieval Outcasts
6. Cryptic Plagues
7. Disease Conquests
8. Conquering Diseases
Part III: Emergence
9. Heavy Harvests
10. Going Global
11. Tipping Points
Epilogue: One Health and the Mad Hatter
Acknowledgements
Bibliography

Author Bio
Featured Contributor

Leslie Reperant

Leslie Reperant is a doctor of veterinary medicine and earned a PhD in ecology and evolutionary biology from Princeton University. She has published her research on emerging infectious diseases in leading scientific journals, including The Lancet and Science.